Did a Female North Korean Traffic Cop Save Kim Jong-un from Assassination?
Ri dedicated herself to ensuring the traffic order in the capital city and displayed the heroic self-sacrificing spirit of safeguarding the security of the headquarters of the revolution in an unexpected circumstance.
So, yeah, that footage from the ceremony in Pyongyang in front of Ri’s fellow officers and military personnel is really something. But the propaganda machine doesn’t tell us much more about why this ordinary traffic policewoman received such a high honor — beyond those two very mysterious phrases: “unexpected circumstance” and “safeguarding the security of the headquarters.” As Agence France Presse points out, traffic cops doing their job to the utmost capacity tend not to receive this prize from the state:
The “Hero of the Republic” award is usually reserved for heroic acts during wartime, although it is also given to individuals who have made a major contribution to the country’s advancement.
Recently, a large number were given to scientists and technicians involved in the North’s long-range rocket launch in December and February’s nuclear test.
Well, assuming this woman is not a secret nuclear rocket scientist hiding out in a police uniform, what could she have done to be honored for such an outstanding life during wartime? (It’s pretty much always considered wartime in North Korea.) There’s this, from her traffic cop boss, according to state TV: “Comrade Ri’s action was not made possible by pure accident, but made possible because she had always harboured this longing for the respected leader day and night.” And then comes the big juicy guess, from the secretary general of defector group NK Intellectuals Solidarity, speaking with the AFP:
“I suspect it might have been linked to an assassination attempt disguised as a traffic accident.”